feelings of failure

Wrestling with feelings of failure

Two months into the year and it already looks completely different than I thought it would in some ways. I knew that there would be challenges and that income would need to be a higher priority. Launching a new program into schools and youth organisations was difficult last year. It has now become impossible for the near future. The bubble we’ve been living in here in Perth has officially burst and we are dealing with the fuller impact of COVID that others have been living through for a long time. I made a decision that had me wrestling with feelings of failure. 

The situation

My husband came to me to talk through our finances. With unexpected expenses over the already expensive Christmas season, the situation was becoming urgent. I needed a way to bring in money quickly. Time for that backup plan that I hoped never to need and yet was privileged to have. Relief teaching. I had kept up my teaching registration ‘just in case’. One of the places I knew I could get work in was the school I used to teach for. This is where those thoughts of being a failure came in the loudest. I felt like contacting them to ask for references and to apply for the relief pool was admitting defeat in my business and that the past 18 months had been for nothing.  


Pride is so insidious. It creeps up on you even when you think you have moved past it. This was simply round 504,657 of the battle for humility. I spent some time crying and feeling sorry for myself. I told my husband how I was feeling. Prayers of surrender were wrenched from the depths of me. And I came out the other side with some arrogance knocked off the edges and fresh perspective. 

I could choose to see this as a failure and grudgingly go into schools to teach. OR I could choose to see this as a new opportunity. I didn’t leave teaching because I hated it. I still love and want to support schools. This is a chance to build into those schools and the lives of students during a very disruptive season. I can build relationships and skills that will feed into the work I do in my business. What a privilege to have the option of picking up this work to support my family when so many don’t have a backup plan.

 So now…

So now my days have been taken up with completing applications and organising resources for a relief bag to take with me. My lounge is covered with printouts in various stages of being cut and laminated. Logistical conversations around before and after school care for my daughter are a regular occurrence. My mind feels stretched and scattered as I wrap it around new demands and ensure I still meet existing commitments in the not-for-profit I lead. It’s not easy but I am growing and learning what to put to the side for these next few months. 

Am I the only one who has already had to throw out original plans for this year? What areas of your life are being controlled by pride? What is that costing you? If I had let pride stay the loudest voice, it would have cost me income or my joy, as well as the connections I will make.

“I never lose. I either win or learn.” 

Nelson Mandela

This is the perspective I want to carry into every venture. I want to keep working towards humility while holding on to the underlying confidence of who I am not being tied to what I do.  

What truth are you holding on to right now?